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Upcycled Dress from Goodwill

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Hello, again friends! So for this months blog post I wanted to share a somewhat tutorial/sewing inspiration I did to modernize a dress I had thifted a few months back at my local Goodwill. The dress was originally five dollars but because it had a purple tag, I was able to take it home for only 1$. There are many times that I go to Goodwill and simply hunt for a tag color because the fabric from outdated clothing can either be upcycled or used for other projects.

If you want to create a similar look, you won’t need much in the way of supplies. Just basic sewing knowledge, a sewing machine, iron, sewing pins or clips, matching thread color, eye and hook closures, a small piece of interfacing (optional), a sewing needle, and elastic (I used 1.25 inch).

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A few tips in choosing a dress that will be the easiest to work with:

  • The silkier the fabric the harder it is to sew
  • Choose a dress that already fits you
  • Make sure there isn’t a bustle in the back

The first thing I knew I wanted to do was hem the dress to a point above the knee. To do this, I put the dress on inside out, went and looked in a full-length mirror and with a marker made a slash on the fabric letting me know where to cut. I then took it off, laid it on a flat surface and used a ruler and marker to give myself a straight across guideline to cut from.

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Remember to mark the dress a little longer than you want because you’ll lose about a half an inch when hemming the dress. Once you cut off the bottom of the dress, try it on again just to be sure everything looks even and that you have your desired length. Remember that you can always cut more off but you can’t put the fabric back on if it’s cut too short. Set the excess fabric to the side.

Once you are happy with your cut, it’s time to hem. There are tons of tutorials online to create the perfect hem, I’m sure my method is frowned upon by seamstresses but my technique is easy, looks clean, and doesn’t require a million measurements.

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All I do is preheat my iron, fold a small portion of the dress bottom up at a time and press the iron to it. The ironing part is important because this will stop your hem from being curled up and super wavy. I then use my wonder clips to hold the fold in place while I sew. (Wonder Clips are just a different way of pinning fabric that I personally find a lot easier to use. You can find them on Amazon very inexpensively and they hold fabric like a dream.)


Once your hem is ironed and pinned in place, take it over to your sewing machine. I used a zig zag stitch on this hem and I try to get as close to the crease of the fabric as possible. When you’ve made it all the way around your dress, take it over to your ironing board and iron the hem with steam. This will flatten out the hem and even hide any imperfections that could occur if you’re new to sewing.

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At this point, you officially have a new short dress for your wardrobe, but of course, I wanted to take this project a step forward to create a unique matching belt with all of the extra fabric. 

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You need to take two measurements at this point. The first being a loose measurement of your waist (mine was 29in), write this number down because this will be the length of your fabric. Then also take a tight measurement of your waist (mine was 26.5in), this will be the length you will cut the elastic at. If you are using 1.25 inch elastic for your belt, you will need to cut a piece of fabric that is your loose waist measurement x 3 inches. You can either draw this onto your fabric or make a pattern piece of paper.

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Fold your (in my case) 29in x 3in piece of fabric in half (BE SURE RIGHT SIDES ARE TOGETHER AND WRONG SIDES ARE SHOWING) and sew the long edge closed, leaving two open ends. Then turn your fabric tube inside out so that the raw edge is hidden. Next, I fed the elastic through the fabric and wonder clipped it so that the elastic inside the fabric was flush with the raw edge of the belt. To give the belt a cleaner look, I also slightly tucked the frayed edges of the fabric inward, as pictured. Lastly sew the end closed, being sure to sew the elastic AND fabric together. I used a large zig zag stitch.

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Next up is the bow portion of the dress! You can make this as big or as small as you want, and the interfacing is completely optional, but I just knew I wanted a huge girly bow that wouldn’t slouch.


I first cut my interfacing and actually used it as a pattern piece as well. It measured out to be 8 x 10 inches. I only needed to use one piece of interfacing to achieve the bow that I made but if you want it to be super rigid, use two pieces. From there I placed the interfacing on top of the extra fabric and cut two 8 x 10 pieces from it.

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Then create a fabric sandwich that will look as followed: 1st piece of fabric with wrong side facing up, 2nd piece of fabric with wrong side facing up, 3rd piece is the interfacing. pin/clip the pieces together, sew along the edges making sure to leave about a 1.5-2inch hole to flip the fabric right sides out. Then sew closed the hole by tucking the raw edges inward, as pictured.

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To finish the bow you need to make a center ring of fabric to keep the bow puckered together. I did this by cutting a 3x2 piece of fabric, and just like the initial belt portion of the project, fold that in half with right sides together, pin, sew, and flip the fabric inside out so that the right sides are facing out. Gather the large square you just made (the bow part) in the center and wrap the little piece of fabric around it. Clip it in place and sew it closed to create a loop that finishes off the bow.

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To attach the bow to the elastic belt, I lined up where I wanted the bow to sit and took it to the sewing machine. I added a little bit of stitching between the folds of the bow to hold it in place. You can also do this by hand sewing if your fabric doesn’t fit under the presser foot.

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Now the last step is to attach the eye hooks! I added two sets of eye hooks because of the thickness of my belt. To do this I just placed the metal hooks on/in the fabric and with a hand sewing needle I put a few stitches in and around the hooks until they felt secure when I tugged on them. You do not need to use eye and hooks, you could also use snaps or any other type of clasp.

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AND THERE YOU HAVE A FINISHED BELT! This was my first time making a fabric covered belt out of recycled fabric, and while I am sure there are many different ways to make them, I got creative and used items I had in my sewing box to not only keep cost down but also got to experiment with materials I don’t get to use very often.

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All in all, I am extremely happy with how this project turned out. I am not a master at sewing, and yet I created a dress that I am excited to wear all summer long. It's light enough to wear on hot summer days, but still has my quirky flair with the large matching belt. What’s great about this project is that even if you don’t have enough left over fabric from your dress alterations, you can always use scrap fabric from other projects to contrast colors and make the belt OR the bow stand out!

Mothers Day Gift Guide

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As Mother’s Day approaches, the search is on for a great gift! Here is a guide to help you get the most out of all Goodwill has to offer!

Mug

 

1. Mugs

This gift is great for the coffee and/or tea loving mom! You don’t have to stop there though, use this idea as a start and stop at her favorite coffee shop for a gift card or her favorite coffee grounds to make it at home.

  

Clothes

2. Clothes

What mom doesn’t love getting clothes? Especially if it’s handpicked by YOU! Goodwill gives you so many options to choose from too. You could find a top and pants, a nice jean jacket, or a fun summer dress. We loved this top for those casual weekends full of snuggles!

 

Books

 

3. Books

Does she love to read? Goodwill has a vast selection of books all for just $1 each. Find her favorite author or select a couple in her favorite genre. We’re highlighting a couple books here for the Momma’s to be.

 

Purse

 4. Purses & Accessories

Check out the purse section of your local Goodwill for a shiny new bag. Then add a wallet or scarf to match. Fill the bag with accessories she might need. Wrap them all separately so she can feel special opening extra presents!

 

Beach

5. Summer Essentials

With summer approaching some new sandals would be an excellent gift. Add a colorful beach hat for her take on that family vacation this summer.

 

Florals

 

6. Home Décor

We found this wreath that would be a great addition to any home and we’re sure mom would love it!

Wares

7. Kitchen Accessories 

Does mom love to cook? Get her something to assist in the kitchen. We found these amazing cannisters to keep everything organized!

We hope this guide helps you with your Goodwill hunting for mom. Take these ideas as a place to start looking when visiting your local Goodwill. Don’t forget, you can also pick up a gift card for mom to have a fun shopping trip of her own!

 *All the items in this blog were found at our North Canton and Jackson Township locations.

Dress for Success

Being a college student studying Fashion Merchandising, looking good every day is nearly critical. But with what income? I started thrifting in high school and it has carried with me to my junior year of college to keep my looks fresh on a budget. Now that I am in my junior year, the hunt for internships is in full swing. I wanted to bring you all some of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way from my classes to look (and feel) your best in an interview!

Here’s what I will be covering:

  • Do's and Don’ts 
  • Styling Tips 
  • Doing It on a Budget 
  • Examples

Do's & Don'ts:

This is the first thing to read about when searching for that perfect outfit. The last thing you want is to wear the wrong color or give off the wrong impression on an important day!

Do:

- Make sure your clothing fits you! Since you can save so much shopping secondhand (especially on brands like Ann Taylor, etc.), you have the money to get some alterations done on the things that need to be fitted.

- Make sure you know what colors look good with your skin! Use this guide as a start!

Don’t:

- Wear colors that could be off-putting to interviewers. Red, for example, is too bold of a color for an interview and could send across the message that you are maybe too confident.

- No open-toe shoes! This is a workplace, not a beach. Save that for your next trip away.

Styling Tips:

While you want to add your own personal style so you feel confident, you still want to look professional! Avoid wearing garish colors or loud prints. They are interviewing YOU, you don’t want your outfit to be the center of attention! If prints are more your thing, opt for a soft and subtle print.

When it comes to jewelry, the less the better. Add a simple necklace or a plain watch. This can be a way to add your personal style while keeping it minimal.

Want to paint your nails? Avoid crazy colors like red or black!  Choose a light pink or nude to look polished (no pun intended) and intentional.

Touching on makeup, you will want to keep that simple and clean as well. Again, they are interviewing YOU and do not want to be distracted by a KISS inspired look.

Be caught up on the company. Not okay with tattoos? If you have visible ones, make sure you can cover them in style! Small wrist tattoos can be covered with a watch, while a blazer can cover most others.

Doing It on a Budget:

Who says you need to buy a whole wardrobe of just professional attire? And who says it has to cost an arm and a leg? Neither of these are true! In my experience, I have been able to find nearly all of my interview pieces at Goodwill. I still feel great even though I didn’t spend Ann Taylor or The Limited prices! Though you are able to find these brands at Goodwill if you are willing to hunt, you can find brands you may not have heard of before!

It is also important to get a few simple basics of professional attire that can be mixed and matched, not just with other professional clothes, but with jeans or other pieces as well so you don’t feel like you are buying a whole new wardrobe. If you keep your choices small, you will avoid over spending.

Examples:

Here are some examples I have put to the test in my interviews!

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While this is more casual compared to some looks, I felt confident and comfortable! The pants on clearance at Target, the necklaces from family, and the blazer and tee from Goodwill! This was such a cheap way to look professional anwere 

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If you can’t tell, I love using printed pants to spice up my outfit. These houndstooth pants from Goodwill are the perfect interview pants. They are comfortable so I won’t be worried about not being comfy when I’m already nervous. Add a basic black tee and black blazer with slides and your outfit is complete! This outfit is more professional than the previous one, but still extremely comfortable! (Don’t keep your hair ties on like me!)d put together. Even though I am wearing a printed pant, it is simple and doesn’t take away from the rest of the outfit.

  

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Bio: 

My name is Sophia DeComo and I am a junior Fashion Merchandising major at Kent State University. I am double minoring in Marketing and Sustainability. I have been thrifting for more years than I can count, and this has helped in my decision to make Sustainability one of my minors. I am so excited to start partnering with Goodwill!

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).  This year, SAAM is celebrating its 18th anniversary with the theme “I Ask” to empower everyone to put consent into practice.  The theme “I Ask” builds on the idea that consent is a healthy, normal and necessary part of everyday interactions.  As each of you share this message throughout your community, school and families, you will be demonstrating the importance of consent and setting an example for others.

Our words and actions shape the world around us.  Whether you are speaking out against “locker room talk” or helping someone better understand these issues, your voice is powerful and necessary in preventing sexual violence.

Our actions, big and small, have a ripple effect on those we teach, guide and influence. Changing beliefs which contribute to sexual violence starts with believing survivors of sexual violence when they share their stories. Remind those around you that sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. Seemingly small actions like this make a critical impact.

Beyond April, COMPASS (Sexual Assault Education, Prevention & Support) continues to advocate for survivors, educate youth on prevention strategies and champion culture change.  Serving Tuscarawas, Stark and Carroll counties, COMPASS provides free services such as support at the hospital after an assault, access to a 24-hour crisis line, counseling, support groups and advocacy during legal proceedings to anyone impacted by sexual violence.   

We can all help promote attitudes that promote safe and secure relationships, equality and respect…not only during April, but each and every day. To learn more, visit www.compassrapecrisis.org

 

Molly MacMath
Executive Director
COMPASS (Sexual Assault Education, Prevention & Support)
Serving Tuscarawas, Stark and Carroll Counties

Thrifted Teen Bedroom

For those new to this Goodwill blog and haven't read my previous Thrifted Patio from 2018, I would like to recap that thrifting takes time and daily hunts.

I shop exclusively at my local store, because of time restraints since I have three kids and work part-time as a designer.

Here is a quick recap of my base principles in thrifting:

  1. To find a bargain, you have to look every day. My personal schedule allows me to go 3 days a week. If you don't get to it first, someone else will.

  2. At my local Goodwill store in New Philadelphia, I start at the left and walk the perimeter then head to all the in-between aisles that brings me back to the cashier for checkout (Amazing how much you can see in 30 mins).

  3. I have purposely chosen neutral colors pallets on my interior walls and main pieces of furniture so I can make almost anything blend in.

  4. Spray paint and chalk paint is your friend. Watch as many YouTube tutorials as you can. It really is easy peasy to use.  

  5. The beauty of thrift shopping is having a statement piece or “look” that no one else can mimic.

  6. Don’t be afraid to use indoor pieces on the outside. Add all the layers possible (pillows, blankets, lamps, buffet, stools...)

  7. Putting a look together is a gradual process. I have a space at home where I gather and store items over a period of months.

I wanted to turn a basic room in the basement into a teen bedroom. Since I have chosen to stick with neutrals in my home, I purchased a headboard and set it up, but the room felt too washed out with the lack of sunshine and warm lighting.

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As you can see, it needs contrast!

I went to a local paint store and asked for miss-match paint in black or a grey (to add black into it). I always look at high-end name brand paint returns because a gallon usually runs around $12-15 price range. These are paints that were mixed for customers, and either the customer didn't like, or they were mixed incorrectly for the colorant or sheen.

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I chose to only paint a black accent wall on the headboard side for contrast. Any and all colors look amazing in front of black no matter if its a feminine or masculine room.

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Above is a thrifted dresser for the room with a lack of closet space and an oversized mirror to help fill the space.  

Still needing to set up a desk area for a teen with late night studying. I found a desk at Goodwill, but it took me three months to find that perfect one to fit my style.

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 A mirrored desk with a bronze tint and in perfect condition. The backside is also finished with mirror panels, so would also look good as a floater in the middle of an office.

The Goodwill desk paired with a slipper chair and wallboard accessories that will be easy to pull off the wall and transport to a college dorm room. This is a tight space, so the desk was the perfect scale.

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Thrifted items:

 - Linens
 - Desk
 - Desk accessories
 - Fur Bench at the end of the bed
 - Dresser
 - Mirror
 - Chandelier
 - Black Paint
 - Table Lamp

Splurge:

 - Silver Tassel pillow

Thrifting well takes time. Gathering items for the past two years for this completed room was a reality for me. I have two years before a kid goes off to college and I will admit I have a stash of items that will be needed for dorm life.

Headed to dorm life this fall? Now is the time for shopping and gathering.

 

Cheri P | Commercial | Residential | e-Designs | Minimalist

Dover, Ohio

Report to the Community Breakfast

The Report to the Community Breakfast, now in its 17th year, is a showcase to the community of the accomplishments of the past year for their local Goodwill, and a peek into the future. This year, the vision for the future was clear….GROW.

“The theme of our breakfast really sets the tone for the rest of the year in how we communicate with the public and our staff,” commented Vice President of Marketing and Fund Development Maureen Ater. “Last year’s theme of ‘rise’ was appropriate as Goodwill was truly rising from a difficult time. Our CEO at the time, Ken Weber, had passed away. We had experienced a devastating warehouse fire. And, our store sales were struggling. Now, we are poised and focused on growth as an organization.”

Looking back at 2018, it was certainly full of growth for Goodwill, specifically, when looking at the number of people served through mission programming… a nearly 15% growth, year over year.

Bright colors and a cheery spring feel welcomed a record crowd of more than 380 guests to the event.

Another theme that was introduced through the décor was that of recycling. This past year alone, Goodwill had 586,235 material donors and were able to divert 12.8 million pounds from area landfills. For the event, glass vases sourced from local Goodwill stores were used as the centerpieces for the event. Guests were given the opportunity to purchase the recycled centerpieces.

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Did You Know: Americans throw away enough glass every week to fill a 1,350-foot building? 

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Speaking of growth, our first award winner Alexzandria Nelson has accomplished so many goals while working with her Dream to Achieve Coordinator Matt Phiney. “When she first started the program she felt stagnant in her position and was unsure of what she may be able to do. At the time, Alex needed encouragement to let her know that she has the skills, experience, and drive to accomplish her goals”

Our Dream to Achieve Program was established to not only help people find employment but to help people move towards sustainable living. This program is more intensive working with individuals one on one to meet their goals as well as a monthly peer support group.  

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Watch Alexzandria’s Journey!

Goodwill Industries support also helped Sydnie Kitson, the 2018 Graduate of the Year award winner, explore new opportunities and find her passion. She was first introduced to Goodwill services through our Summer Youth Work experience program which allows students to explore a variety of career and job opportunities.  Our Summer Youth Program is a part of our Comprehensive Case Management Employment Program (CCMEP) for people ages 16-24 who may have barriers to employment.

Sydnie then moved into our Job Development program where she learned job skills and soft skills that helped her to gain employment. With assistance from her program specialist, Crystal Page, she has developed her passion for helping children and grown in her confidence.  Today Sydnie works as a Child Watch Attendant at a local YMCA.

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Watch Sydnie’s Journey!

The Edgar J. Helms Award was given to Daniel Baltzly because of his determination to work hard while always maintain his positive outlook. Daniel was apart of Goodwill’s Job Development Program working closely with Susan Gardner his Goodwill Job Coach. He worked in a Goodwill store learning in a controlled environment and gaining job skills and confidence. Later, he was hired as a Parking Lot Attendant for Giant Eagle, becoming one of the hardest working and well-known employees.

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Watch Daniels Journey!

If you’re interested in learning more about Goodwill’s employment services click here.  You can also watch all our award winner’s journeys on our YouTube channel.  

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Event photos by Terry Horner Photography

Award winner video and photographs by Mosher Media

Spring Break: Packing on a Thrifters Budget!

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Hello again! The sun is finally out for more than a few hours a day, the weather is warming up to a not so miserable temperature, and the desire to leave hibernation is stronger than ever. With all the mini-vacations my husband and I take throughout the year I have become an expert on packing smart without sacrificing my style.

This spring my husband and I plan on flying down to Florida to see my cousin and her family, to cut some of the cost of checking luggage onto the plane we both bring a small carry-on bag with everything we’ll need for the week. Now, to be completely honest, before being married and having a husband to scoff at my excess packing I could easily fill a full-sized suitcase with just shoes so it’s taken a lot of trial and error to realize what I actually need on a vacation.

For this trip I’ll need about eight outfits to be on the safe side and while every girl knows they don’t really need to go shopping, it just always feels good to wear something different when you know you’ll be out and seeing people. I gave myself a strict budget of spending only $20 to freshen up my existing wardrobe of some of my favorite thrifted and non-thrifted finds.

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I went into Goodwill with the idea that I wanted some tops and at least one sundress to accent with my existing shoes and bottoms. The color of the week was green and while I searched forever to find a good steal, I simply fell in love with other pieces. That being said I still stayed under budget!!

I walked away with one tank-top, a plain white T, a blouse with flutter sleeves, and my favorite, a denim black sleeveless dress. I spent almost $16 but with just these four items I was able to create 8 different looks using four other items already in my closet.

The first outfits I put together were using the plain white t-shirt with pocket detail. I feel like having solid colored T’s in your wardrobe is the easiest way to create day to night outfits without any real effort or thought.  I paired my shirt with a pair of high wasted brown shorts and a small cross body bag and tie-up sandals for a day we might spend out shopping, walking, and/or exploring. It’s cute and comfortable!

Another way I paired the shirt was with a high waist black button up skirt, a pastel purse, and white sandals that I found on a thrifting trip a few months back. I plan on wearing this outfit for a casual dinner, brunch or to grab some drinks at night. Again, it’s simple but I feel confident in it and it allows me to make bold earring choices if I choose.

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The next item I dressed up was the baby doll Love Stitch tank-top. It’s another very neutral and easy to style item that can basically be paired with anything in your closet. I wanted a few more casual outfits in my suitcase that I would feel comfortable wearing all day long.

I bring a jean jacket with me on every single trip I take. The main reason is that I am a freeze baby and even air conditioning can sometimes be too cold for me, the other being that they bring a whole new element to each outfit you wear it with. Somehow the magic of a good jean jacket can change an outfit from simple to edgy, and in the outfit shown, I feel like it just added more color contrast and depth.

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For as many exploring and casual outfits I need equal parts going out outfits as well. The black dress is absolutely going to become a staple in my closet. Every single thing I paired with it looked better than the next! Eventually I settled on going bold with hot pink everything, because why not? I have a reputation for dressing quirky and this dress allows me to be as creative as I want!

The next nighttime outfit I’m bringing with me is with the flutter sleeve blouse. I’m not sure if it’s just me but add a bell sleeve or flutter sleeve to any top and it suddenly becomes far more eye catching. This top in particular has a great back detail of silver buttons running down the length of the spine. I could not believe I was able to snag this up for less than $3! I paired it with the same black skirt as shown with my white t-shirt and for some added spunk I plan on wearing my thrifted flamingo dangle earrings.

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Last, but certainly not least, I couldn’t possibly go on vacation without wearing at least one fully thrifted outfit! The fact that I was able to pair all of my favorite thrifted finds into one adorable outfit makes my heart sing with quirky joy. I feel like this outfit can be worn any season and would still be stylish. As a whole this outfit cost me less than $15 from head to toe and I can’t wait to brag about it.

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So the million dollar question remains… Will all of this fit in a carry-on suitcase with room to spare for pajamas, cosmetics, and some swimsuit goodies? The answer to that question is.. ABSOLUTELY!! To recap what went into all these outfits I have packed away:  3 different tops, 1 dress, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 skirt, 3 pairs of shoes, and 2 purses.  On the plane I will wear a pair of jeans with a layered shirt and jacket combination to bring yet another outfit if needed (because you know you want to squeeze just one more in).

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I hope everyone has a great spring break filled with fun, family, friends, and of course some great thrifted finds from your local Goodwill. With a little bit of creativity and a clear idea of what you’re looking for, spicing up your wardrobe with new pieces doesn’t need to break your bank for you to feel good about what you are wearing.

 

I heart Goodwill! Thrifting for Valentine’s Day!

Hello again fellow thrifters! With Valentine’s Day only a few days away and the looming question of “what the heck am I going to wear” playing over and over in my head, I knew it was time to take a trip to The Goodwill. My husband and I don’t usually do anything fancy for Valentine’s Day but we do enjoy spending the day together and I knew going into my day of thrifting that I needed an outfit that would be appropriate for whatever the day may hold, whether that be a museum, a movie or just a quiet dinner together.

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I decided to go to the North Olmsted Goodwill because of the size and selection it offered. To build my outfit I used a method that proves to be effective when I’m searching for an outfit for an event or date. I always do a lap around the racks looking for one single piece that strikes my interest that I can build my whole outfit around. I find this to not only be a timesaver but also prevents me from spending extra money on clothing I do not need (however, I usually do sneak in a few special pieces if I come across a good bargain).

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The piece of clothing that caught my eye first was this shirt. The brand of the top is a.n.a which is commonly found a JCP and Kohl’s. I scouted this out simply by color, I liked the dark red, pinks and whites for Valentine’s Day, but when I took it off the rack I completely fell in love with the bell sleeves and ruffle bottom. It was not only girly but because of the sleeve and deep red color it had a vintage look to it that I knew my husband would absolutely love. I quickly looked over the shirt to check for stains and or holes but thankfully it was in perfect condition. SCORE! The best part yet is that it had a ticketed price of 6$ but because the tag of the week was blue I was able to take it home with me for only 3$! DOUBLE SCORE!

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The only drawback to this shirt was that I knew the daunting task of finding a modern fit pant that actually fits was upon me. I know a lot of people have no issues finding pants while thrifting but I must admit that I am very picky. I have a checklist that all pants must pass for me to buy them: they must be mid to high rise, they must be slim to skinny fitting, and of course they need to be in good shape with little to no repairs needed. That being said, I found these pants in half a second and nearly fainted.

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For the most part I do not wear cords, my husband on the other hand has some strange affinity for them, so when I saw that not only were they my size but also a perfectly matching color I knew it must have been a sign from the thrifting angels. These pants are from The Loft and the quality of the corduroy was excellent, they are butter soft and gently used. Unfortunately these did not have a blue tag but they still only cost me 8$, which considering the condition as well as the name brand, I didn’t mind spending a little extra on them.

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After trying the pieces on together in the dressing room, checking to make sure they not only fit but also paired together well, I thought my outfit was complete and I’d just use heels I already owned. But no thrifting experience can be completed without at least checking out the shoes… oops. Of course I found a pair a booties that spoke to me. I kept fighting myself saying “are they too matchy-matchy?” “When will you wear these again?” “Do you need to spend 8$ on them?” but the rational side of me spoke up and said “they’re probably not even your size, try them on first”… And like Cinderella, the shoe fit perfectly and we lived happily ever after together. Thankfully when I got home and tried them on with the whole ensemble, I actually loved how well everything matched. It goes against typical look, but it’s a risk I’m glad I took.

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My outfit would not be complete without some accessories, so to finish everything off I incorporated my thrifted fuzzy pink clutch to add a little spunk and an extra splash of color. The necklace is another thrifted find that I’ve had for years and matches pretty much any outfit. Lastly my husband got me a custom pair of hoops for Christmas and I just knew he’d love to see me wearing them.

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So in the end, I left the store with an entire outfit that cost me only 19$ from head-to-toe. I made not only myself happy, but also my husband happy, and most importantly, my wallet happy! What’s great about this outfit is that these are pieces will work into my wardrobe well. I try my best when shopping for a date night or evening out with friends to buy things that will serve me for more than one use. Because everything I bought in this trip is modern they match well with some of my quirkier thrifted finds. I hope everyone has an amazing Valentine’s Day, I’m sure your outfits will look amazing!

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9 Must Haves for Craft Organization from Goodwill

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Crafts are a favorite pastime of my three kiddos (and me), but the mess and disorganization of all the pipe cleaners, crayons, glue and glitter can send this momma into a fit. With a little creativity, Goodwill can offer an inexpensive and fun way to help you organize your craft supplies.  

I headed out last week to one of my favorite local Goodwill stores. I was shopping on a Sunday, which is important because Sunday is $1 day (woo-hoo!). Each Sunday and Monday, one color tag is only $1 throughout the store. And, everyday there is one color that is 50% off. I don’t typically seek out those particular color tags, but it definitely makes the difference between what goes in my cart as I’m shopping.

#1 PAINT TRAYS

For years, I purchased the disposable plastic paint trays. They weren’t expensive (typically $7 or $8 for a dozen), but I realized these handy little trays were quite wasteful. Keeping the different paint colors separated when my little Picassos were painting was important, though. Muffin pans offer a great alternative! I’m saving a little from the landfill and saving money long-term. This mini muffin pan was marked at $3, the same price as the full size muffin pans, but it was tagged with the 50% color. So it was only $1.50!

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#2 BEADS, BEADS, BEADS

If you were a child of the 80’s or 90’s, you probably remember Perler Beads. For those unfamiliar, they are tiny little colored beads that you place on a plastic grid to create different designs. The design is ironed, beads melt together and the final piece can be made into magnets, ornaments, key chains, etc. We love Perler Beads at our house. Okay, maybe this momma loves them, and the kids have grown to love this craft! Regardless, we have literally a million beads all mixed together in a Ziploc bag.  Before we dive into a project, we spend a good 15-20 minutes trying to separate all of the colors we might need for our creation.

During my craft excursion to Goodwill, I found this brand new battery organizer case. I’ve never heard of a battery organizer. Is that a thing? At our house, the batteries get thrown into the junk drawer! The 12x9 case has several different compartments and latches that provide a tight seal between the compartments. We can now sort our beads into these different bins and save oodles of time when we are ready to create! EXTRA BONUS: It will take my kiddos hours to separate out the colors!

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#3 KEEP YOUR PAPER ORGANIZED

Small plastic drawer organizers are a great way to keep drawing paper, construction paper and even sheets of felt flat and organized. This three drawer organizer fits great on a countertop or tucked away in a cupboard. At retail stores, the cheapest I’ve found this same piece is $9.89, but I found it for only $3 at Goodwill. Need more than one? No problem, during my visit, I found three; all identical, stackable and in perfect condition (other than some stickers and dust I cleaned up when I got home). DO THE MATH….(if I decided to buy all three, which I was tempted to do!) Retail price $29.67, Goodwill price $9, which is a 70% savings!

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#4 CUTE CONTAINERS

I’m a sucker for a cute pattern on anything, but especially if it can raise my crafting game. This three piece plastic container set was clearly intended for a lunchbox but made for a great compact option to store puffballs, random beads and crafting odds and ends. It was only $3!

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#5 ART CADDY

I went on this Goodwill shopping trip focused on finding a few different items that I would piece together to create a Pinterest-worthy art caddy. No need for me to warm up the glue gun, though! In the first aisle I found this beauty…an art caddy! It was brand new. It was exactly what I needed. And, best of all, it was only $1! This particular art caddy retails for $3.98 each. That is a 75% savings! I consider this a MUST HAVE for moms. It’s great to move a small amount of supplies from room to room or even in the car to keep the kiddos occupied.

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#6 SHOP FOR MORE CRAFT SUPPLIES

Easily half of the craft supplies I already have originally came from Goodwill, and most are brand new products that Goodwill has purchased as closeouts from major retailers. On this trip, I scored a 200 piece container of chipboard stickers for only $2.99 (retail price $5.00, 40% savings). I also found this bag filled with 14 spools of ribbon for only $3. None of the ribbon had been used and all came from a large craft store where this supply would have cost at least $20 or more.

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#7 RIBBON DISPENSER

There is always a supply of plastic drink holders at Goodwill. This visit, I landed an Ohio State cup (Go Buckeyes!) that will now serve as a great way to hold ribbon and prevent my three year old from unraveling the entire spool! Just thread a few inches of ribbon through the opening where the straw would go and voila!

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#8 CONTROL THE GLITTER AND SAVE THE SAND!

Glitter is my enemy. Unfortunately, glitter is the favorite craft supply for my three daughters, but it ends up on everything. Salt and pepper shakers offer better control for little hands when they are looking to add glitter to a craft project. I chose a parmesan cheese dispenser to dump all of our glitter into. It all mixes together into one beautiful rainbow and cuts down on all the itty bitty containers that get lost in our craft cupboard.

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We also love to work with colored sand for our craft creations. Most of the sand comes in kits but we end up having so much sand leftover that gets thrown away. What a waste! On this Goodwill haul I found these great oil & vinegar containers that make for perfect sand dispensers. This set of four cost only $6!

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#9 DON’T FORGET THE EXTRAS!

When I headed out the door for my Goodwill shopping trip, I told my husband that I was ‘only’ shopping for craft organization items. Let’s be honest, though, there is NEVER a time that I go to Goodwill and leave with only what was on my list! This trip I limited myself to the housewares section, but I found oodles of other ‘must have’ items from that section that rounded out my haul.

The absolute best #goodwillfind of this trip was this amazing hanging frame. Since Christmas was marked down, I was able to get this brand new changeable art frame (I will replace the ‘Merry and Bright’ with original kid art) for only $1.12. Yep! Less than a candy bar! It was sold in retail stores for $16.99, marked down at Goodwill for only $4.49 and then 75% off as part of the after Christmas sale.

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Although I had a definite list of what I wanted and needed during this Goodwill shopping trip, it’s always important to shop with an open mind. You will need time, especially if you are shopping in the housewares department. Every item is different and unique, and therefore it may take a little longer to scour the shelves for what you need. The time is worth the savings for these great craft organization finds, though. Wishing you Goodwill magic on your next trip. Happy crafting and happy thrifting!

DIY Holiday Fun at Goodwill

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There is something so special about entering the seasons of Halloween until New Years. It’s not just the candy, the turkey, the family, or the delightful chill that takes over the entire state of Ohio; it’s also all about the fashion. It is like we are given three entire months to dress as quirky, festive, and tacky as we so desire and not a single person will judge us.. In fact they give compliments to praise our fun fashion choices.

Christmas in particular celebrates our bold sweater choices with parties and contests daring everyone to step out of their comfort zone and bring out their festive side. Some call them ugly sweaters, but I call them my everyday attire. Goodwill during the holiday season has racks of beadazzled cardigans, vests and sweaters featuring wonky snowmen, snowy village scenes, and the big man himself, Santa. I however, use this season to get crafty with my clothes and create unique outfits using items that are commonly found at any Goodwill location near you.

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What’s great about this project is you can create a unique sweater with virtually any saying on it for as little as 10$. I went a little over that budget because I went with a name brand sweater, but it still cost me less than 15$ for the entire project. I chose “Ho, Ho, Ho” as my sweaters design because it is classic and fits in with my vintage style taste, but the world is your oyster and you can use this technique to create something as simple or extravagant as your heart desires.

Goodwill Items:

  • Plain Sweater (I found a J.Crew sweater in perfect condition for 8$)
  • Christmas Fabric (Mine is from a vintage table cloth I found in the Christmas section for 3$, but there are many other fabric options like curtains, tree skirts, or aprons.) 

Craft Items:

  • Fabric scissors and paper scissors
  • Iron
  • Fusible adhesive for fabric (small package can be found at your local craft store for around 3$)
  • Print out of what you would like to patch onto your sweater
  • Pencil, pen or Sharpie
  • Plain sheet of computer paper

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Step 1: Cut out the letters/words from the printer paper.

Step 2: Place the cut out letters onto your Christmas fabric to use as a reference for how large you should cut squares of the fabric. This is a rough estimate and does not need to be exact, you will just need enough fabric to comfortably fit both letters. If you are doing the Ho-Ho-Ho design you should finish with 3 separate rectangles of Christmas fabric.

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Step 3: Cut out squares of the iron on material the same size as the Christmas fabric.

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Step 4: On your ironing board, lay your iron on material with the tacky glue side facing up. Then place your fabric face up on top of it. If your material is thin like mine is, you should place a piece of computer paper on top of your fabric to protect your iron from getting the glue on it.

Step 5: With your Iron set to the highest temp without the steam press it to your fabric/paper for only about 2 seconds at a time making sure to heat the entire rectangle. You do not want to rub the iron back and forth because you may skew the fabric off of the iron on material. To check and make sure the fabric is adhered enough, just make sure the edges aren’t lifting when your rub your finger across the back corners.

Repeat these steps until each piece of your Christmas fabric had an iron on backing.

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Step 6: Turn your fabric squares onto their back so that the paper portion of the iron on material is face up. Fit your cut out letters onto the fabric and use them as a stencil to copy your design onto the fabric.

Step 7: Carefully cut out the design with your fabric scissors. A trick to cut out the center of the ‘O’ is to fold the letter in half and slice into the middle to leave space for your scissors to fit and cut out the center.

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Step 8: Take the paper backing off each of the letters you have cut out. It should peel right off.

Step 9: Arrange them onto your sweater where you plan to have them ironed on. This step is just to make sure everything will fit onto the sweater exactly how you had imaged.

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Step 10: Time to start ironing on your letters. Because I have a very small ironing board I took all my letters off and did them one at a time to ensure my spacing was perfect. For each letter I placed it onto the sweater face up and covered it with computer paper. I knew my sweater was going to be heat sensitive so I applied my letters to the sweater in two second intervals, lightly pressing the letters with my fingers in-between iron presses to help the adhesive stick to my sweater. Repeat the 2 second intervals as many times as needed. Just like before, to ensure the letter has been fully applied I just check to make sure my edges aren’t lifting when I run my finger against the corners.

Step 11: Repeat this step until you have filled out your entire sweater!

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Finished! Now it is time to enjoy your new festive sweater! The iron on packaging claims you can wash your fabric with whatever care instruction are on the tag of your garment, but having experience with this product I would recommend hand washing because the edges tend to lift slightly. If hand washing is not your thing, then you can even place a few stitches in the lettering to keep them in place.

I styled my Christmas sweater with a few other Goodwill finds. I found a thin collared polka-dot long sleeve blouse for only 1$ a few months ago. I am a huge fan of layering, not only does it add a pop to a seemingly simple look but it also provides some extra warmth. What I love about this blouse so much is that it is thin enough not to look crumpled underneath sweaters or dresses.

On the same shopping trip that I found my polka-dot blouse, I also found these Christmas shoes! They were only 4$ and I could not help myself when I saw them in my size. These shoes are in practically new condition and I cannot wait to wear them all season long.